When your opponent makes an out call before the ball has landed

#1
I played a match recently and my opponent made a loud out call way before the ball even touched the ground. The ball was pretty close to the line so I made him aware that he made the call before the ball landed and asked him if he was sure the ball was out. He was doubtful so I asked him if he watched the ball where it landed and again he was not sure.

I handed him the point in the end but asked him to not make calls before the ball landed. How would you have reacted?
 
#2
I've done that a few times in my life and then gave the point to the opponent for prematurely calling out on a "too close to do so" ball. As long as you are willing to concede your error it's not a problem. but if you do it and not watch the ball land and then try to claim the point, thats bad etiquette and I'd point it out as a Code violation
 
#3
This has come up in a different way too. In doubles. Don’t say “out” to warn your partner before the ball bounces. Say “ watch”, “let it bounced”. Calling “OUT” before the ball has touched the ground means it out. Question the call if you want. Especially if it was close. And if you/partner decide different and say “no it was good” and play it but your opponent stops play, it is your opponents point.
Sorry…
Back to the question. People around here do it a lot it seems. Well certain people do it a lot. I don’t know if they want it to be out or if they “feel” it is going to be out. I usually don’t complain unless it becomes apparent that the balls are being called badly. If I went so far as to question the call and they were unsure About it, I would have taken The point.
 
#4
I hate when people do this to me. I also must say I have done it myself.I have alos gotten burned twice by doing this on serves that have a ton of spin and just fool me, however the two times I have done it and it burned me I quickly awarded the point to my competitor. My partner was peeved with me and I apologized but after the last time I said never again.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
#5
When I was new to leagues, I was on the baseline and called a ball sailing past the baseline out before it bounced. (it nearly hit the fence) Opponent complained that I shouldn't call it out before it bounced. Well, okay.

I do try to be patient even on the obvious ones not to call anything until the darn ball bounces.

And when playing with people who use a lot of TS or a lot of slice, you are best served waiting until the bounce: so much of the time the stupid ball is in.
 
#7
One of my biggest pet peeves. I always make a point to mention it. Some people get pissy about, but I don't care. Have also had some call something out and it DOES land in.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
#8
I played a match recently and my opponent made a loud out call way before the ball even touched the ground. The ball was pretty close to the line so I made him aware that he made the call before the ball landed and asked him if he was sure the ball was out. He was doubtful so I asked him if he watched the ball where it landed and again he was not sure.

I handed him the point in the end but asked him to not make calls before the ball landed. How would you have reacted?
Exactly the same way as you did.

If its a tournament .maybe a little bit more of a big deal. But practically the same way.

You would have made your point so more than enough.
 
#9
This has come up in a different way too. In doubles. Don’t say “out” to warn your partner before the ball bounces. Say “ watch”, “let it bounced”. Calling “OUT” before the ball has touched the ground means it out.
Not true. There was an old article in the USTA's column The Final Word, a section I can no longer find on their website. It specifically stated that calling "out" to your partner while the ball is in the air (i.e. suggesting he let it bounce) cannot be construed as an "out" call since the ball hadn't bounced yet. The official USTA official's words, not mine. This was in reference to opponents, who unwisely stopped play, then trying to claim a hindrance. So, technically not a line call, and it's play on. However, there is so much confusion and misinterpretation of this that I would agree that it's just better to choose a different word. I find a single unambiguous syllable, like "bounce", has advantages.
 
#10
I could not find the article I referred to on the USTA site, but here's what I had downloaded a few years ago. Kaufman is the USTA official who was responsible for The Final Word column.

My doubles partner and I were recently playing a match when the following occurred. My partner returned a shot and the opponent closest to the net (her partner was back at the base line) called "out." The ball had not yet bounced and her partner returned the shot for a winner. We meanwhile heard her yell "out" while moving into position for the next point, so consequently we were unprepared for the shot coming at us. We asked to replay the point and she didn't want to, saying she is allowed to say anything she wants on her side of the court. Her captain ended up telling her to replay the point but I am unable to find any rule that covers this although there must be one.

KAUFMAN: This is always an interesting case.

First, despite what some people think, there is no rule that says you cannot say 'out' or other words of communication to your partner, especially when you're at the net and the ball is coming in your direction. And because such communication would invariably occur before the ball has bounced, the claim that this could be mistaken for a line call doesn't hold water if everyone is paying attention. Communicating by screaming or yelling is not permitted at any time and could be deemed a hindrance no matter when it occurs.

The only time confusion could occur is in the case when a player said 'out' or another form of communication to his/her partner standing at the baseline at the time when the ball bounced. You were in the position to make a return of the ball and did so. In that case, saying "leave it" or "NO" would be preferable to saying 'out'. However, any word used when the ball lands on the ground or close to the ground when your partner hit the ball could be construed as a call.

If a player yells "out” at the moment or close to the moment their partner played the ball, it can be deemed a hindrance.
 
N

Nashvegas

Guest
#11
I’m at a loss here. What compels someone to call out before a ball bounces? Calls are defined by the bounce. There’s no concept of a ball being in or out prior to a bounce or contact with... something.

“Hey, how many miles is it from Spokane to -“

”763!”
 
#14
I’m at a loss here. What compels someone to call out before a ball bounces? Calls are defined by the bounce. There’s no concept of a ball being in or out prior to a bounce or contact with... something.

“Hey, how many miles is it from Spokane to -“

”763!”
I am certainly capable of telling by trajectory of the ball whether it is likely to land out or not. In some cases I'm so certain I start raising my finger before the ball has landed. It's called anticipation. I certainly try not to do it on close balls.

I think it's funny that we need a precise timing window to make a legitimate out call. Call a second too soon and people complain, call a second too late and people complain.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
#15
I am certainly capable of telling by trajectory of the ball whether it is likely to land out or not. In some cases I'm so certain I start raising my finger before the ball has landed. It's called anticipation. I certainly try not to do it on close balls.

I think it's funny that we need a precise timing window to make a legitimate out call. Call a second too soon and people complain, call a second too late and people complain.
Yes, some things are obvious ... it it is hitting the fence first or sailing feet wide or long, I don't think anyone is going to try and claim a point based on a somewhat early call with something that is clear as day.

The folks who call out early on something that is really close ... those folks are annoying at best, cheaters at worst.
 
#16
I think it's a double standard to believe that one cannot call the ball out before it bounces but insist that lets can only be played on balls that were obviously going in.

If you believe that a ball cannot be called out before it bounces, then you must also believe that a let can be called as long as the ball is in play, no matter how apparently in or out the ball may appear.

Lets be honest here: What's "obvious" to some isnt always obvious to others. Sometimes a ball that's going a few inches out seems obviously out. Sometimes a ball that's seems like it's going a few feet out, hits wind above the wind screens, and takes a huge dive downward into the court when it didnt even have topspin.
 
#17
The folks who call out early on something that is really close ... those folks are annoying at best, cheaters at worst.
The worst part about those people is that they dont often reverse their calls if they are wrong. Once that finger points out, it's not going to turn into a palm even if the ball lands on the inside of the line. Ok, maybe if it's in the early games of a set, but they are not going to reverse **** if it's a tie break. lol.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
#18
The worst part about those people is that they dont often reverse their calls if they are wrong. Once that finger points out, it's not going to turn into a palm even if the ball lands on the inside of the line. Ok, maybe if it's in the early games of a set, but they are not going to reverse **** if it's a tie break. lol.
man, how many points I could have won if I were so stubborn ... when I think it is going out, I haven't called anything but don't make proper adjustments to make a good play on it (because my head thinks its going out), only to have it kiss the line ... pretty certain I have lost a tie break or two in just this situation.

Being the pollyanna that I am, I figure it all evens out and my opponents do the same thing ... if I thought otherwise, I would likely quit playing.
 
N

Nashvegas

Guest
#20
I've done that a few times in my life and then gave the point to the opponent for prematurely calling out on a "too close to do so" ball.
I think it's funny that we need a precise timing window to make a legitimate out call. Call a second too soon and people complain, call a second too late and people complain.
The timing window opens after the ball bounces. Your first comment is why. The window closes before you get two bites at the apple. Seems reasonable.
 
#21
Did it just the other day. Just reacted too quick and LUCKILY the ball was out.

I apologized to my opponents for the premature yet proper call. "No worries".

Nonetheless, it's a bad practice and could elicit several problems.
 
#22
The timing window opens after the ball bounces. Your first comment is why. The window closes before you get two bites at the apple. Seems reasonable.
I think the window opens when your opponent hits the ball and closes before your reply crosses the net. As long as you make the right call. If you make the wrong call you better give the point to the opponent.

The reason to call at the bounce is to save yourself the emabarassment of having to reverse your call because you were an idiot.
 
#23
I am a 4.0 Male who hits with a lot of topspin (compared to the average 4.0 guy). Just a lot of topspin but not a a lot of pace so balls usually drop in pretty close to the baseline. I usually don't care about line calls because if they call it out, its out. I just need to hit it in. But one time in a 7.0 match, I hit a heavy topspin down the line shot on a 3.0 women (meant to go over her backhand). She called it out before it even crossed the net! My ball landed very close to the baseline but she did not even turn around to look! I just looked at her 4.0 male partner. He probably knew immediately from my look what I was thinking and he confirmed that the ball was out but she should not have called it out of the air and should have looked to confirm.

Another time, I was kick serving to this one 3.0 women and she kept calling my balls out before they landed. Then had to reverse the call as she saw they landed in. (I would not have minded if she did not reverse since I can not tell if my own servers are in or out.) She did atleast 3-4x before she learned to stop calling serves out while still in the air.
 
#24
But one time in a 7.0 match, I hit a heavy topspin down the line shot on a 3.0 women (meant to go over her backhand). She called it out before it even crossed the net! My ball landed very close to the baseline but she did not even turn around to look!
It's possible she was telling her partner she thought it was going to be out so he should let it bounce. Some people do signal that way which is annoying. That's why i say "leave it" our "bounce it" rather than "out" for balls that I think are going to land out behind me.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#25
I think we've had this discussion before though the previous thread was about doubles (where the out call might be perceived as communication with a partner). In this case, I would think that an out call before the ball bounces is undoubtedly a call (and not communication). I'd probably give up the point once when this happens but nothing beyond that one time incident.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#26
I’m at a loss here. What compels someone to call out before a ball bounces? Calls are defined by the bounce. There’s no concept of a ball being in or out prior to a bounce or contact with... something.

“Hey, how many miles is it from Spokane to -“

”763!”
My issue is with the timing of the call. In doubles, if you yell the word "out" fractions of seconds before the ball bounces, the ball bounces in and the following happens:

-you/your partner returns the ball in play and acknowledges that the point is live after making such vocalization
-I simultaneously stop playing because of the timing of your call
-you claim that you were just communicating with your partner when in truth the timing of the call leaves only a groundstroke as your or your partner's potential return stroke.

I'm going to push for a hinderance even though the rules may say otherwise if followed to the letter. There has to be some reasonable measure of common sense and respect for your opponent. If you're only possible shot on a ball that could potentially being going out is a groundstroke, you can wait until it bounces to "inform" everyone on the court. Vocalizations effect EVERYONE on the court so words should be chosen carefully to not send an unintended message.

In singles, if you make an out vocalization, that's a call...not a communication.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#27
I am a 4.0 Male who hits with a lot of topspin (compared to the average 4.0 guy). Just a lot of topspin but not a a lot of pace so balls usually drop in pretty close to the baseline. I usually don't care about line calls because if they call it out, its out. I just need to hit it in. But one time in a 7.0 match, I hit a heavy topspin down the line shot on a 3.0 women (meant to go over her backhand). She called it out before it even crossed the net! My ball landed very close to the baseline but she did not even turn around to look! I just looked at her 4.0 male partner. He probably knew immediately from my look what I was thinking and he confirmed that the ball was out but she should not have called it out of the air and should have looked to confirm.

Another time, I was kick serving to this one 3.0 women and she kept calling my balls out before they landed. Then had to reverse the call as she saw they landed in. (I would not have minded if she did not reverse since I can not tell if my own servers are in or out.) She did atleast 3-4x before she learned to stop calling serves out while still in the air.
So in the case of your 7.0 doubles match, unfortunately, the rule says that she can make that "call". While I agree that you shouldn't do it, it's allowed unfortunately. In the case of the serves, I don't think that's allowed because that's a communication to you and not specifically her partner since touching the ball on the fly for her team would constitute the loss of the point.
 
#28
I think we've had this discussion before though the previous thread was about doubles (where the out call might be perceived as communication with a partner). In this case, I would think that an out call before the ball bounces is undoubtedly a call (and not communication). I'd probably give up the point once when this happens but nothing beyond that one time incident.
It isnt a call. You cannot make a call before the ball has landed, no matter how obvious.

The only time this is a hindrance is if the "communication" with that persons partner hinders the opponent from playing the ball. In singles, it would be a hindrance because you shouldn't talk during the point.

This is why it's suggested that you not use the word "Out!" when communicating with your partner in doubles. HOWEVER, it almost doesnt even matter what is said, because someone saying "Oh!" in response to their partner whiffing a ball or whatever, could be heard as "Out!" and then a hindrance claim can be made.

What I do is usually say "NO!" or "Watch!" and then once the ball lands ill point with my finger. The "finger" is the actual line call. No one has ever tried to claim a hindrance on me, or claimed that I should wait until the ball bounces before making my call.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#29
It isnt a call. You cannot make a call before the ball has landed, no matter how obvious.

The only time this is a hindrance is if the "communication" with that persons partner hinders the opponent from playing the ball. In singles, it would be a hindrance because you shouldn't talk during the point.

This is why it's suggested that you not use the word "Out!" when communicating with your partner in doubles. HOWEVER, it almost doesnt even matter what is said, because someone saying "Oh!" in response to their partner whiffing a ball or whatever, could be heard as "Out!" and then a hindrance claim can be made.

What I do is usually say "NO!" or "Watch!" and then once the ball lands ill point with my finger. The "finger" is the actual line call. No one has ever tried to claim a hindrance on me, or claimed that I should wait until the ball bounces before making my call.
So..in singles, what are you doing when say "out"? You have no reason to say anything other than in, good, out, no, etc. in singles and have it be a call. The point of it not being a call falls under the category of partner communication in doubles but what's the purpose of blurting out words that effectively end the point in singles? The OP appears to have been playing singles.

And to that point...So someone yelling "out" fractions of a second before the ball makes contact with the court(in the doubles case/thread it was at the baseline) isn't a call but then realizes it was in, acknowledges that it was in verbally, their partner continues to play on in the point but the opponents have stopped playing because that momentary vocalization ceased their engagement in the point. Riiight...got it. <insert sarcasm and questioning someone's integrity>.

Whether the rule says it or not by virtue of timing and what might be sportsmanlike, I think most of us would have acknowledge that we were indeed making a call and that we indeed hindered our opponents. Otherwise, we would have waited a fraction of a second longer to let the ball bounce. You're clearly talking about an instance when a ball has time to be taken out of the air such as line drive while your partner is standing at the net and may be considering a play on the ball.

I get what you're saying but the rule is nonsensical when a verbalization is so clear as not only to alert your partner, but in the previous thread scenario, could be construed as a call based on the timing of the ball hitting the court. Whether a person could call a hinderance is not the crux but did the timing of the call actually hindered you from continuing to play? Again, I'm talking about a ball that was fractions of seconds from hitting the court.

In the case of my quote which you referenced, I put call in quotes because the timing is in question and the original poster referred to said communications as calls.
 
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#30
So..in singles, what are you doing when say "out"? You have no reason to say anything other than in, good, out, no, etc. in singles and have it be a call. The point of it not being a call falls under the category of partner communication in doubles but what's the purpose of blurting out words that effectively end the point in singles? The OP appears to have been playing singles.
You are confusing two very different things.

Blurting out words in singles may qualify as a hindrance. This is why The Code says you shouldnt talk during points if you are playing singles.

A line call must be made. It doesnt have to be an audible call.

And to that point...So someone yelling "out" fractions of a second before the ball makes contact with the court(in the doubles case/thread it was at the baseline) isn't a call but then realizes it was in, acknowledges that it was in verbally, their partner continues to play on in the point but the opponents have stopped playing because that momentary vocalization ceased their engagement in the point. Riiight...got it. <insert sarcasm and questioning someone's integrity>.
If your "vocalization has ceased their engagement in the point" on a ball that was in play, you have hindered them. It doesnt matter if it's "fractions of a second before the ball hits the line" or "in the middle of a long, seemingly endless rally". If it's a line call and indeed the ball is out (has landed), then it's out. This is why "early callers" dont often change their calls, because they probably know they would lose the point.

You cannot say "Out!" when a ball is in play if it causes your opponent to stop play.


Whether the rule says it or not by virtue of timing and what might be sportsmanlike, I think most of us would have acknowledge that we were indeed making a call and that we indeed hindered our opponents. Otherwise, we would have waited a fraction of a second longer to let the ball bounce. You're clearly talking about an instance when a ball has time to be taken out of the air such as line drive while your partner is standing at the net and may be considering a play on the ball.
I'm talking about all instances of communicating with ones partner. This can even be for a lob either player is running down.

I get what you're saying but the rule is nonsensical when a verbalization is so clear as not only to alert your partner, but in the previous thread scenario, could be construed as a call based on the timing of the ball hitting the court. Whether a person could call a hinderance is not the crux but did the timing of the call actually hindered you from continuing to play? Again, I'm talking about a ball that was fractions of seconds from hitting the court.

In the case of my quote which you referenced, I put call in quotes because the timing is in question and the original poster referred to said communications as calls.
If a line call is made within "fractions of a second of hitting the court" (assuming the ball is close, not like a 100mph missed smash missed by 3 feet) the proper way to handle it is to wait a few "fractions of a second more" until the ball hits the court to make your call so that it's CLEAR that you have made a line call and were not communicating with your partner. This way, you can be SURE the ball is out, since it has landed, so there is no reason to correct your call.

You may always correct calls in favor of your opponents. What the hindrance rule is there to prevent in this case, are late calls that may benefit the player who made the late call.

It's pretty simple: Dont call the ball early, which isnt to say im suggesting you call the ball late. If you make an incorrect call, correct the call and give your opponent the point. The only time this system breaks down is if you correct your calls and still expect to be able to win the point. This creates people who wont correct bad calls once they are made because they lose the point, and people who call the ball "if in doubt, call it out" and then expect to be able to still play the point for being "honest".
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#31
You are confusing two very different things.

Blurting out words in singles may qualify as a hindrance. This is why The Code says you shouldnt talk during points if you are playing singles.

A line call must be made. It doesnt have to be an audible call.



If your "vocalization has ceased their engagement in the point" on a ball that was in play, you have hindered them. It doesnt matter if it's "fractions of a second before the ball hits the line" or "in the middle of a long, seemingly endless rally". If it's a line call and indeed the ball is out (has landed), then it's out. This is why "early callers" dont often change their calls, because they probably know they would lose the point.

You cannot say "Out!" when a ball is in play if it causes your opponent to stop play.




I'm talking about all instances of communicating with ones partner. This can even be for a lob either player is running down.



If a line call is made within "fractions of a second of hitting the court" (assuming the ball is close, not like a 100mph missed smash missed by 3 feet) the proper way to handle it is to wait a few "fractions of a second more" until the ball hits the court to make your call so that it's CLEAR that you have made a line call and were not communicating with your partner. This way, you can be SURE the ball is out, since it has landed, so there is no reason to correct your call.

You may always correct calls in favor of your opponents. What the hindrance rule is there to prevent in this case, are late calls that may benefit the player who made the late call.

It's pretty simple: Dont call the ball early, which isnt to say im suggesting you call the ball late. If you make an incorrect call, correct the call and give your opponent the point. The only time this system breaks down is if you correct your calls and still expect to be able to win the point. This creates people who wont correct bad calls once they are made because they lose the point, and people who call the ball "if in doubt, call it out" and then expect to be able to still play the point for being "honest".
1. No confusion on my part. Whether a hand signal or audible is used, it would still be wrong to use either before the ball bounces in singles. The OP stated that his/her opponent was calling the ball out before the bounce. The difference is that in doubles an opponent can say out and claim it was just communication with a partner at any point in time. In singles, you have no partner so the only communication would be with your opponent which then makes it a call.

2. Everything you're saying about the doubles scenario is an agreement with what I've stated earlier.
 
#32
1. No confusion on my part. Whether a hand signal or audible is used, it would still be wrong to use either before the ball bounces in singles. The OP stated that his/her opponent was calling the ball out before the bounce. The difference is that in doubles an opponent can say out and claim it was just communication with a partner at any point in time. In singles, you have no partner so the only communication would be with your opponent which then makes it a call.

2. Everything you're saying about the doubles scenario is an agreement with what I've stated earlier.
There is less argument for a hand signal hindrance than an audible early "out!" call since the hands move around a lot during points and hand signal line calls are generally very exaggerated, whereas saying something phonetically similar to "Out!" like "Oh!" could be heard as a line call.

The player cannot say "Out!" and claim it was "communication" if the ball is traveling to their opponents side of the court. This is why players who say "Watch out!" when the opponent is about to hit an overhead on a ball they just floated are guilty of hindering their opponent.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
#33
There is less argument for a hand signal hindrance than an audible early "out!" call since the hands move around a lot during points and hand signal line calls are generally very exaggerated, whereas saying something phonetically similar to "Out!" like "Oh!" could be heard as a line call.

The player cannot say "Out!" and claim it was "communication" if the ball is traveling to their opponents side of the court. This is why players who say "Watch out!" when the opponent is about to hit an overhead on a ball they just floated are guilty of hindering their opponent.
I and the OP are talking about an opponent communicating/making calls on his side of the court when the ball is traveling to his (the opponent's) court. The discussion was never about someone calling balls in/out or communicating with his/her partner when the ball is traveling to the opposite side of the court. Your reference to a player not being able say out if the ball is traveling to the opponent's side of the court is out of context, but I'll assume you did so because of my "any point in time" reference. The scenario you describe was never what I was referring to.
 
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#34
I played a match recently and my opponent made a loud out call way before the ball even touched the ground. The ball was pretty close to the line so I made him aware that he made the call before the ball landed and asked him if he was sure the ball was out. He was doubtful so I asked him if he watched the ball where it landed and again he was not sure.

I handed him the point in the end but asked him to not make calls before the ball landed. How would you have reacted?
In technical terms, you deserved the point. The Rules and the Code are crystal clear on the spirit of making "out" calls - the benefit of the doubt goes to the opponent. Your opponent wasn't sure, so he should have given it to you.

Will everyone conduct themselves with this level of maturity at every match? That would be no. But outings are generally a lot more fun when the spirit of cooperation and an air of mutual respect are on hand.

Always better to talk with opponents about what you both can agree on. Instead of bluntly telling the other guy that he's hooking you, it's smarter to offer a point of view and maybe ask your opponents what they think that you can do about it going forward. That way you're still working together to manage the match instead of spiraling down into a hate-fest. Even if an opponent is going to be a turd, you've still given him an opening.

Also keep in mind that some folks honestly don't know how to manage their match conduct. If an opponent has never really done an A-to-Z rundown of the rules (or the Code), they're going to be sort of fudging it. It can be awkward when these wrinkles need sorting out, but remember to try and have a discussion instead of spouting off like a dictator.
 
#35
I think the OP handled it as well as one can, it's very irritating for somebody to do that and it should be pointed out to that person as they might not even realize what they're doing can come off as poor sportsmanship.

I will admit I find this particular situation more annoying simply because it's so avoidable, how hard is it to wait for the ball to land before making a line call?
 
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